'I didn't need any intervention - apart from a helicopter': Baby almost born mid-air after flooding cuts off Coromandel

A mother was well-prepared for the birth of her second child, with her bags and car packed and ready to make the three-hour drive from Whitianga to Hamilton.

'I didn't need any intervention - apart from a helicopter': Baby almost born mid-air after flooding cuts off Coromandel

'I didn't need any intervention - apart from a helicopter': Baby almost born mid-air after flooding cuts off Coromandel

But Charlotte Christensen could not have prepared for her waters breaking at 4am on the same day that slips and flooding cut off parts of the Coromandel, forcing her to give birth without her husband Damon by her side.

After undergoing a caesarean birth with her first child, Emily, Mrs Christensen, who was due on March 9, had planned to give birth at Waikato Hospital.

Charlotte Christensen. Source: Facebook.

So when her waters broke yesterday morning she woke her husband and the pair got in their car with their sleeping toddler to make their way to the hospital.

But after a night of heavy downpours, flooding had cut off access to the entire Coromandel Peninsula.

Crew on a Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter took this photo on their way from Thames Hospital.

"We headed south and didn't get five minutes out of town before we struck flooding and cars off the road," she told NZME.

They were forced to turn around to head north on State Highway 25.

"We thought if it's flooded there too we can then swap over into our 4-wheel-drive but miraculously that was fine," she told NZME.

"It was scary. There were a lot of waterfalls and a lot of rock falls. It was very dark with heavy, driving rain but everywhere it was low lying, where we were expected to be flooded out, we got through."

Two hours later they arrived at Thames Hospital only to face more obstacles - there was only a district nurse at the hospital and midwives in the region could not get there quickly because of the flooding.

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Thames-Coromandel District Council shared this image of flooding taken by Heather Bruce.

A midwife finally arrived at Thames Hospital at around 8am, but discussions had already began with an on-call obstetrician at Waikato Hospital about flying Mrs Christensen to Hamilton.

Two hospital midwives were then sent on the rescue helicopter and landed at 10.30am to pick up Mrs Christensen, who now had continuous contractions.

She had to leave her husband and daughter behind.

"I really wasn't aware of the time. We were 20 minutes in the air and from that time I went from 'It's going to be hours, to baby's coming now'. I could feel it. By the time they got me in the delivery suite it was 20 minutes and he was out," she told Fairfax.

Thames-Coromandel District Council shared this image of flooding taken by Heather Bruce.

Her son, Nathan Alan Christensen, was born naturally, weighing 3.6kg.

"They kept saying that everything was on track to not need any intervention, as it turns out - apart from a helicopter."

Her husband and daughter managed to make their way through SH25, arriving by car at 1.30pm.


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